The Boston Celtics suffered another disappointing loss Wednesday night when Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks dominated for large stretches of the game and ultimately left TD Garden with a 113-108 victory.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has come under scrutiny over the last few weeks with his team losing seven of its last 10 games.
How much blame does Stevens deserve for Boston's lack of consistency? C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge gave his take Thursday morning.
"First of all, everybody is responsible," Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" show. "I'm responsible. Brad's responsible. ... There's not a formula. I'm around the team all the time. Everyday I'm watching the preparation, I'm watching the players. Brad has zero responsibility for us shooting 5-for-34 from 3 last night, most of them being open shots. He doesn't have responsibility when players improvise and are playing with lack of emotion after they miss shots. The only thing that he could do is yank his best players out of the game and go with the other players. That's the only option that he has.
"I think this is not everybody on the team, this is not the same player every single night -- it's different players each night. ... When we have success, it's everybody's success, and when we have failures, it's everybody's failures.
"I think we're trying to identify how to get the team to best perform and, without anything else, we really do need to get healthy. We have different players out every night and there's not a lot of time to practice and it really is difficult to sustain continuity. Having said all that, effort should be one thing that is consistent."
You can blame Stevens for not figuring out the best lineups, not drawing up the most effective plays or not benching players when they keep making the same mistakes or showing a consistent lack of effort.
Ainge is right when he says that Stevens shoulders no responsibility for the team shooting so poorly from 3-point range, especially when a lot of those attempts are open looks.
This was the case in Wednesday night's loss to the Mavericks when the C's couldn't connect from beyond the arc despite getting so many good looks at the basket. It's a make or miss league, as Jeff Van Gundy often says, and the C's are way too dependent on whether the 3-pointers are falling. The team's 3-point defense also is lacking, as the Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans both shot lights out from deep in the last two games.
Stevens absolutely deserves blame for the team's lackluster play this season, but his share should not be as large as the players', who ultimately have to execute on the court consistently. They have not done that through 48 games.